I John 4:17-19 (NIV) This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. (Robert Kennedy)
If you drop an object in water, as it sinks to the bottom, the water it displaces creates a ripple effect that can be seen on the surface. Ironically, or not so much, the farther down it goes the greater the continuation of those ripples throughout the water above. This ripple effect is not only recognized in the natural world but in the psychological realm as well. It does not matter who you are – what you do – or your position in life – you cause a ripple effect by your very existence. God created us all with a plan and purpose. It is the reaction of those around us that we determine whether or not our life is successful. Huh? Am I serious? Absolutely. God’s Plan and Purpose for our life is simple – we are to love others as He first loved us. Once saved and filled with His Spirit our everyday life should create a ripple that emanates love to those around us and continues to be far reaching. What impact does your life have on others? Are you pushing them toward the Kingdom of God or driving them away? The ripple creates a current, like in water, that moves those things in its midst. Have you ever been in swimming in a lake or the ocean when a boat passes by? Waves are created in its wake that manifests in a ripple effect. No matter how hard one tries – they will be moved by the water. The Lord created you for such a time as this. We are carefully planned masterpieces filled with value and worth that manifests in potential. What is our potential? Love. To love. Just because He first loved us.
In this world of mixed religion, I am challenged to cut through all the hype, doctrine, rules and regulations – all the other things called worship that are manmade and get to the heart of the matter. God loves me. Jesus died for me. His Grace is enough for me. I am to take up my cross, crucify my flesh and follow Jesus. What will I do in this journey called life? Love other people like Christ loves me. Could it be that our gospel has become diluted and displaced by lesser things? Has our passion for the Lord been compromised for the sake of comfort? Are we complacent in our efforts to reach a lost and dying world? Could it be that we have been unsuccessful because the ripple created by our being does not represent the change we proclaim in our heart? Lord, I ask you today to create in me a new heart and a steadfast spirit. Open my eyes to what you are showing me and let my ears hear Your Word for my life today. In Jesus Name, AMEN.
Robert Kennedy is quoted as saying that “each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot (or life) of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. What do I stand for? Well, I think it is Jesus Christ. However, I must consider the ripples that form when I walk into a room, stand in line at Walmart, or do any other “thing” I do in life. What is the effect? Perfect love. This truly is our mission in life. There is no greater cause than to show others the Love of God that we have experienced through Jesus Christ. It is not something we “do” but who we are so when we take a step, it should resonate from each one as we follow Jesus. Does my life promote hope in others? Do I stand up for those who lost, dying, broken or do I judge them, try to change them or ignore them altogether? Do I strike out against the injustice levied against other people? The energy produced by my life must always be love. Sin should be avoided at all costs yet it is unavoidable due to my own rebellious nature. I can pretend like I am perfect but the truth is no one really is. The only hope that I have is the grace I have been given by God through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. If I can somehow accept this and learn to live like it, I will learn to love others more perfectly each day.
Micah 6:8 (NIV) He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Of course, God honors our obedience. He set forth His Word to lead us to full satisfaction and completion. We are to act justly. When we do not, through repentance His Grace is enough to cover it. To love mercy is our challenge in life. The power in us is heady and strong easy to misconstrue as personal success when we owe it all to Jesus. This creates a lack of humility that has permeated the four walls called church and is destroying the assembly of the Body of Christ. To love mercy is to be compassionate and show kindly forbearance to all offenders. It means that we have pity on those who are hopelessly lost enough to lay our life down to show them the way to Jesus which is always His Love. Mercy is kindness and forbearance in all things. Forbearance is forgiveness. To walk humbly with our God requires us to lay down our life for other people. There is no greater love than this.
John 15:12-14 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
Jesus never dealt harshly with those who were lost. He was sarcastic and somewhat rude to the religious people who pretended to know God but did not recognize Him in the flesh standing before them. When Jesus came through a city, the ripple effect was men and women crying out His Name, bringing the sick and dying, asking for salvation from their sins and all seeking His Love and Compassion that produced miracles, signs and wonders. The Pharisees and Sadducees stood in the shadows mocking Him and plotting to extinguish this unsettling, uncomfortable twist on their precious religion. He loved everyone. I believe with my whole heart that if we do not get back to the basics of Jesus’ ministry which was to lay down His Life and love all mankind – we will miss the next great revival or only hear about it from afar. Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one other than to lay down one’s life for their friends. Those who do the Will of Jesus will step over the boundaries of doctrine to love others and create ripples in life that draw all men and women and children to Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 13:1-8 (NIV) If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
I belong to a full-gospel church. We believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I share that to say that in I Corinthians 13 it begins with manifestations of God to His People. It is easy for churches to get caught up in their doctrine and defending their faith and religion. But ultimately this is not what we have been called to do. It is perfectly fine if you and I do not completely agree on things like the Gifts of the Spirit or how the other worships. This has long caused division in the church and will continue until Jesus comes. It doesn’t matter if you speak in tongues or not. It doesn’t matter if you prophecy or praise and worship louder than anyone else. What matters to God is how we love. What is important to Jesus is that we follow His Example and lay down our life for other people. We lose sight of this sometimes but the ripple effect shows clearly the effectiveness of our witness. Are we drawing people to Christ or pushing them away?
What is love? Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy or get jealous. Love does not boast and is not arrogant and prideful. Love honors other people. Love does not seek its own gain but the exaltation of others. Love does not get angry. Love keeps no records of wrong and forgives as Jesus does tossing the offense in the Sea of Forgetfulness. Love does not delight in evil or things like revenge. It rejoices in the Truth. Love always protects other people no matter who they are. Love always trusts that God has everything under control so we are free to love without obligation. Love always has hope in every hopeless situation even when those in fall seem hopeless, too. Love always perseveres and endures hanging on until the bitter end. Love neve ever fails. Church will end. This world will, too. If we have not accepted God’s Love, we will die too. If we have, it is our mission to spread it as far as we can to the world around us.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Has the church lost its first love? Do we love Jesus like we used to putting His Agenda before our own? If the ripple effect of every single believer who called themselves a Christ was absolute and complete love, laying aside religious traditions and personal doctrines to take hold of His Word and Truth that asks us simply to love others as Christ loves us, what might happen? Revival. Without love, we are just another cause. With the Love of God, we are powerful to change the world by the ripple of hope sent forth from our life. The ripple effect is when an event causes a series of over events to happen. What if every believer evaluated their life and changed the current for the better? What if rather than judging other people and setting standards much too high for imperfect humans, we simply decided to love one another? It is so simple, yet we have made it so hard. We cry out for revival but are we willing to pay the price? What is the cost of revival? True love.
I John 4:9-12 (NIV) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
A young man sharing his testimony in a youth service told the young people, the greatest transition in worshiping God and our relationship with Christ is when we no longer avoid sin because it is wrong but because we love Jesus. The Love of God found in Jesus Christ will change the most vile or hard heart. It will transform hateful people to lovable ones. Jesus told us – He commanded us to love others – it is easier to serve in church, give to the poor and do all the right things rather than to give our heart to other people especially those we find underserving. Well, the truth of the matter is that I do not deserve the love, grace and mercy given to me by Jesus. Not at all. I have never committed a crime other than speeding. I have tried to be a good person even before I knew the Lord, yet my sin still condemned me. I am nothing without the Love of Jesus Christ. Absolutely nothing. If I do not use my life to share His Love which is the Gospel with others, I am a spiritual failure. I must constantly evaluate the ripple effect of my life for validity and truth which is to love others. My love for them should cast out all fear of judgment or rejection and create a catalyst for salvation and repentance with confidence that the Love of God is real and completely unconditional. This won’t happen if my love for others is conditional.
When a stone is dropped into the water, it sinks to the bottom. As it begins to fall, the water around it is pushed up. When it reaches the surface, the ripples form. John 3:30 says, “He must become greater; I must become less.” I wonder if today this is deep crying to deep. The Lord is calling us to the depths so that in our decent others will be lifted high enough to grab hold of His Love, Salvation, Deliverance, Healing and Kingdom. I must humble my life to His Love so that His Love is the ripple effect around me. Amen and amen. I believe a church whose heart is set on His Love above any other thing and that has decided to love everyone as Christ loves them will soon feel the fire of revival arise from their passion for Jesus.
I Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.